Title PhD project: The role of wild deer in the transmission of diseases of livestock
Salary La Trobe Scholarship + $10K top-up
Location La Trobe University
Job Information

Thanks to a partnership between La Trobe University, the Arthur Rylah Institute for environmental research (DELWP) and Agriculture Victoria, a PhD project opportunity is available to investigate wild deer disease status and the role of wild deer in the transmission of diseases of livestock.

Six deer species have established wild populations in Australia and are expanding in range and density. Wild deer are appreciated for their aesthetics and are a valued hunting resource. However, it is also recognised that deer can have an impact on biodiversity conservation and can pose problems for private landholders, causing damage to crops and fences as well as competition with livestock for pasture. Furthermore, deer populations may pose a risk to livestock by transmitting diseases and hampering current preventive measures as a result of their close contact with livestock species.

This project will assess the disease status of deer populations in Australia, with a particular focus on viral diseases and blood parasites. Serological and molecular techniques, including Next Generation Sequencing, will be jointly used to evaluate and quantify the presence of pathogens. By applying population genetic models, the level of cross-species infection between deer and livestock species will also be quantified.

Through the completion of this project, the student will have developed competent skills in laboratory techniques, bioinformatics, population genetic analytical approaches and applications of epidemiological principles for research and wildlife management.

The student will be required to apply for a La Trobe Scholarship by 31st October, and if successful will receive a $10,000 per year top up above the standard scholarship amount, as well as an extra 6 months scholarship (approximately $37,082 per year for 4 years).

If interested, please send an enquiry to
Dr Karla Helbig, k.helbig@latrobe.edu.au
Dr Carlo Pacioni, carlo.pacioni@delwp.vic.gov.au
Dr Teresa Carvalho, t.carvalho@latrobe.edu.au